Idiot is a hybrid work for 4 actors and media created in response to Dostoevsky's The Idiot - created by HERE Artistic Director Kristin Marting and writer Robert Lyons with designers video designer Ray Sun, environment designer Nick Benacerraf, costume designer Kate Fry, composer Larry Heinemann, and lighting designer Jeanette Yew. This wholly new work incorporates original text, live cinematography, surround projections, gestural choreography, and vivid sound. Our central character, Myshkin, is a “completely beautiful soul" whose brief glimpses of spiritual wonder suggest a transparent, guileless way to live in the world. Our immersive staging implicates the audience as part of a society more concerned with wealth and power than simple decency and spiritual epiphanies. IDIOT explores a profound ethical question: can a person live a compassionate life, without deceit, or will society’s corrupting forces, and our own darkest human impulses, destroy them?
Our work extracts four characters from the novel and re-imagines them for the stage, framing the story through the fractured consciousness of the innocent Myshkin, who unwittingly finds himself the lynchpin in a twisted love quartet that includes a notorious woman, a spoiled society girl, and a violent sociopath. Myshkin’s utter lack of guile and bedrock decency make him an outcast, an “other”, almost a freak to those surrounding him. He is also an epileptic, further distancing him in the eyes of the society at that time.